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Pitt State tabs Rutledge to lead track and field, cross country programs

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State University has named Kyle Rutledge the school’s next head coach for the track and field and cross country programs.

Rutledge takes over for Russ Jewett, who announced his retirement on Friday.

Rutledge just finished up his 9th season as an assistant coach for the Gorillas. He’s been Associate Head Coach for the last four seasons. He was named the 2018 NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year for men’s indoor track & field after helping lead the Gorillas to the program’s first national championship, and is a 4X regional assistant coach of the year.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson announced today (June 7) coaching staff changes within the Gorillas track & field/cross country program following the retirement of long-time head coach Russ Jewett.

Johnson announced that associate head coach Kyle Rutledge will now assume the head coach role for the Pitt State men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs. Assistant track & field coach Brian Mantooth also has been elevated to the role of Associate Head Coach/Meet Director. Ben Barrows, who has served as a part-time assistant coach in the program the past four years, will now serve as a full-time assistant coach, focusing on leading the cross country and distance programs.

Jewett announced his retirement from his coaching posts Friday (June 4).

“We are excited to announce these staff changes,” Johnson said. “We have worked in concert with Coach Jewett on our plans and vision for the cross country and track & field programs moving forward and these staff changes reflect that vision. For the majority of the past century, four men – Doc Weede, Prentice Gudgen, David Suenram and Russ Jewett – have led our track & field program. We are excited about the leadership and energy Kyle and his staff will continue to bring to the program.”

Rutledge recently completed his ninth year as a full-time assistant coach in the Pitt State track & field program – his fourth year as the program’s Associate Head Coach. He has overseen the coaching of the high jump, pole vault, multi and hurdle events for the Gorillas.

In nine years with the Gorillas, Rutledge has coached 45 All-America performances, seven national champions and 10 national runners-up, as well as a score of All-MIAA performances and 22 school records. All of those athletes have combined to make 57 entries on Pitt State’s all-time top 10 performance lists.

Rutledge has helped guide the Pitt State women to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first team title in school history – as well as five straight MIAA Outdoor Championships from 2015-2019 and five straight MIAA Indoor Championships from 2016-2020.

Rutledge has garnered Division II Regional Assistant Coach of the Year honors four times:  2015 Indoor, Women; 2016 Outdoor, Women; 2017 Indoor, Women; and, 2018 Indoor, Men.

Rutledge also has helped lead the Pitt State men to five MIAA Indoor Championships (2014-2015, 2017-2018, 2021) and five MIAA Outdoor Championships (2013-2015, 2018, 2021) in the last nine years.

The Pitt State men and women have combined to claim 19 MIAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships in the past nine years.

Prior to coming to Pitt State, Rutledge served as an assistant coach at Missouri S&T for three years. His athletes broke 23 school records at MST and he coached 12 NCAA Division II All-Americans.

Rutledge also spent two seasons coaching at his alma mater, Missouri Southern, where he coached 10 NCAA Division II All-Americans and three NCAA-II national runners-up.

Mantooth recently completed his 12th year as a full-time assistant coach in the Pittsburg State University track & field program, after serving as a part-time assistant coach for eight years for his alma mater.

Mantooth, who is responsible for coaching throwing events, has been honored as the NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor National Assistant Coach of the Year twice in the last seven years. He received the national accolades in 2014 and again in 2016. Mantooth also has earned Regional Assistant Coach of the Year recognition five times (2009, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021).

He helped guide the Pitt State women to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first team title in school history – as well as five straight MIAA Outdoor Championships from 2015-2019 and five consecutive MIAA Indoor Championships from 2016-2020.

Mantooth also has helped lead the Pitt State men to the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship – also a program first – and six MIAA Outdoor Championships in the last eight years (2012-2015, 2018, 2021).  In all he has helped coach Gorilla teams to 19 team indoor or outdoor conference titles.

During his tenure as a Pitt State assistant, the Gorillas have produced 89 first-team All-America performances between the men’s and women’s teams as well as 164 NCAA Division II national meet qualifiers. Additionally, Mantooth has coached six national champion performances, eight national runners-up, 252 All-MIAA performances as well as 52 MIAA championship efforts and eight MIAA Championships meet records.

He also has coached one NCAA Division II all-time record holder (Garrett Appier, shot put, 2016), two Olympic Trials qualifier (Garrett Appier, shot put, 2016; Brett Thompson, javelin, 2021) and one Junior USATF National Qualifier (Creighton Sanders, javelin, 2017). Mantooth also has coached 40 different record holders at Pitt State as well as 14 CoSIDA Academic All-America throwers, including the 2019-20 CoSIDA Academic All-America Men’s Track & Field Team Member of the Year (Levi Wyrick) and three NCAA Elite 90 Award winners.

Barrows recently completed his fourth season as an assistant coach for distance and middle distance runners at Pitt State.

Since arriving at Pitt State in the fall of 2017, Pitt State cross country/track & field has won 12 team MIAA championships. Women’s cross country captured MIAA team titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019; women’s indoor track & field in 2018, 2019, and 2020; women’s outdoor track & field in 2018 and 2019. On the men’s side, indoor track & field captured MIAA team titles in 2018 and 2021 while outdoor track & field also secured the team titles in 2018 and 2021.

Also since 2017, women’s cross country has seen success at the national level, earning a bid to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in 2017, 2018, and 2019 with a highest finish of 13th as a team in 2018. Men’s track & field has earned two podium finishes at the national level, once by winning the indoor national title at home in 2018 and again by placing fourth at the 2021 outdoor track & field championships.

For the individual successes, Barrows has helped guide Gorillas distance and middle-distance runners to 14 MIAA championships, 54 All-MIAA performances, and 29 All-Region performances. School records have been improved on 16 occasions including a historic season in 2021 where the men’s indoor team rewrote school records in the 600y, 800m, mile, 3000m, 5000m, and both the 4x400m and distance medley relay.

Barrows came to Pitt State from his alma mater, Central Missouri, where he coached for two years. In his time coaching at UCM, Barrows guided runners to three All-MIAA performances, three All-Region performances, one conference champion, two school records, and three national qualifying events in track.

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